Today's News: Our Take


SECOND COMING OF CHRIST

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ grossed another $51.4 million over the weekend to remain atop the box office for a second-consecutive week. The film — which dropped only 38 percent from its record debut last weekend — has taken in $212 million in just 12 days. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson's Starsky & Hutch update opened in second place with a strong $29 million, while Viggo Mortensen's Hidalgo bowed at No. 3 with nearly $20 million. Meanwhile, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, buoyed by its Oscar sweep, returned to the top 10 at No. 7 with $3.2 million — $368.3 million to date. read more

SUNDAYThe Sopranos Proof positive...

SUNDAY

The Sopranos
Proof positive that Tony Soprano is a far tougher man than I: He can sit through The Prince of Tides. Furthermore, he wants to. On the other hand, he cites Doctor Phil when trying to close the deal with Doctor Melfi. That's the best he can muster? This show's always been among the best on TV, even in the third and fourth seasons, which for the most part were a letdown. And it's done so by observing some key rules and rewriting others. But one they shouldn't ignore: Romantic tension always trumps its consummation. (On TV, anyway.) Do not let Melfi and Tony get together.

Carmela calling her own son an a----le? Disturbing, but real. And in a fair fight between Tony and the bear, I'd bet on T. — even without the gun. As for the business of there being two Tony Sopranos, we fans know there's only one. And we expect he's going to give us a hell of a season read more

SPEAKING OUT

Ethan Hawke is opening up about the end of his five-year marriage to Uma Thurman, which can only mean one thing: The dude's got a movie coming out. In an interview on tonight's 20/20, the star of the upcoming Taking Lives admitted that career pressures contributed to the split. "I don't know if it's just too hard to be married to a woman that wants to be a movie star," he said. "I know that she has that right to want that." read more

SNL STAR POWER

Making her first post-Boobygate TV appearance, Janet Jackson will host Saturday Night Live on April 10. Actually, she'll be both host and musical guest. Just to be safe, rumor has it NBC may air the show with a 67-week delay. In related news, Ben Affleck hosts SNL for the second time on March 13. read more

IN RELATED NEWS...

In a bid to extend their 15 minutes of fame (and do a little damage control in the process), Sue and Omarosa made the talk-show rounds this morning. During an extremely awkward interview with Harry Smith on CBS' The Early Show, Sue was reunited with Rich and confirmed that she has since made peace with his private parts. And despite threats made on the island about a lawsuit, she said she has no plans to take action against CBS or producer Mark Burnett. However, Sue then added that everyone's "been really great" about the matter. (I smell a settlement.) And on NBC's Today show, Omarosa danced around the L-word herself when she suggested her "concussion" could have been prevented had she been advised to wear a hard hat at the poppy seed plant, er, I mean the construction site. (Look for our Q&A with Omarosa early next week in Insider. And don't bother sending in read more

DANCES WITH ELEPHANTS

Kevin Costner is in talks to direct and possibly star in Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived, a film described as a Black Stallion-type love story between a man and an animal. It's rated Ewww.... read more

Law & Order Babe Returning?

When Stephanie March left Law & Order: SVU and her role as ADA Alex Cabot last fall, we figured the Emmy-worthy actress was setting her sights on bigger and better things — like a movie career or a legal drama all her own. Not a gig at the Food Network. But the 28-year-old up-and-comer assures us that her role as host of the five-part series What America Eats With PARADE (debuting Sunday at 9 pm/ET on FN) does not represent a new career direction. "This is just about the fact that I love food," she tells TV Guide Online. "It's like if you love the Westminster Dog Show and somebody says, 'Do you want to run my dog around the ring?' 'Well, yeah! Why not?'" March also happens to be engaged to Food Network superstud Bobby Flay, so, well, you do the math.

TV Guide Online: Are you concerned that people might thin read more

SHORT CUTS

Fox is developing a TV movie based on Rodney Dangerfield's forthcoming tell-all bio It's Not Easy Being Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs... The FCC will not impose fines against NBC for its live telecast of the 2003 Golden Globe Awards in which Bono said a bad word on the air, the Wall Street Journal reports... The romance between Sopranos star Edie Falco and fellow thesp Stanley Tucci is over, according to the New York Daily News. read more

Alias Bad Boy's Secrets


It's not just viewers who are blown away by the twists and turns on ABC's spy drama Alias. Dave Anders — the show's British bad boy Mr. Sark — gets his share of surprises, too. Sark has gone from a mere recurring character in Season 1 to a major player in the North American cell of The Covenant last month. His rising status as a TV terrorist is quite an unexpected coup for this 22-year-old actor.

"In the first season, I didn't know how long I was going to be around," Anders tells TV Guide Online. "I [even] wanted to get Jennifer Garner's picture and autograph. On the picture, she wrote, 'To David: Welcome to prime time. Get comfy. You're going to be here awhile.' I was like, 'What the hell does she know? She knows something I don't!'"

Not bad for an Oregon native with only two professional acting credits on his résum&ea read more

FAIR CONDITION

Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital scared up some decent ratings for ABC in its debut Wednesday night. An average 14 million viewers checked into Hospital, making it the network's best drama premiere since Alias more than two years ago. One troubling sign: Viewership dipped throughout the two-hour premiere. read more

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